Marrakech, Morocco

15 November 2016

Secretary-General's remarks to the High-Level Segment of the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change [as delivered]

A salaam alekum, bonjour, good afternoon!
 
Je remercie Sa Majesté le Roi Mohammed VI et le Gouvernement du Maroc d’avoir réuni la COP22 à un moment aussi crucial. Merci de votre leadership.
 
This is a new dawn for global cooperation on climate change.
 
The Paris Agreement is one of the most complex and ambitious and far-reaching visions ever reached by the United Nations, by the international community. I thank all Heads of State and government who are present here for leadership and strong commitment for their vision.
 
This Paris Agreement entered into force on November 4th, years ahead of expectations.  It entered into force years ahead of expectations. We have now 109 countries who have ratified accounting for more than 75 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.
 
Countries have strongly supported this Paris Agreement because they realize their own national interest is best secured by pursuing the common good.
 
Now we have to translate these words into concrete effective policies and actions.
 
This is critical to protect our planet, safeguard the most vulnerable and drive shared prosperity.
 
Low-emission development and climate resilience will advance all the Sustainable Development Goals which were adopted September last year by you distinguished leaders of the world.
 
The United Nations will help countries implement this Agreement. The quicker we act, the more we gain.
 
Before I begin to say a few more words, I would like to express my deepest thanks to government and people of France and President Francois Hollande for [France's] leadership as the President of COP21 and also Laurent Fabius, the President of COP21. Thank you for their leadership.
 
After a decade giving top priority to climate change, visiting its frontiers and speaking to everyone I could reach, I have learned during last ten years at least six lessons, important lessons, which I would like to share with you today.
 
First: multilateral solutions work. Acting together, countries achieve more than they ever could alone.
 
This is true for the Paris Agreement, the Sustainable Development Goals and recent achievements on mitigation.
 
The United Nations is the best forum to forge solutions.
 
Second, heads of State and government must lead. Political and moral leadership of you distinguished heads of State and government - that is the key in implementing these words.
 
I have spoken with nearly every and each leaders of the world about climate change. The more they understood, they more decisively they acted. And I thank you for your leadership.
 
Third, we need whole societies to engage.
 
Millions of people from all sectors contributed to the Paris Agreement. They are indispensable for realizing its full potential.
 
The Global Climate Action Agenda generated collaboration between governments, businesses, finance and civil society. They demonstrated the power of partnerships.
 
Fourth, the United Nations must continue to champion the science.
 
The current Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, INDC, will not get us out of the danger zone.
 
The mechanisms within the Paris Agreement to continuously raise ambition based on the best available science is critically important. We need to get on a global emissions pathway that limits warming this century to well below 2 degrees Celsius and as close down to 1.5. This means that global emissions need to peak by 2020 and decline rapidly from then on.
 
2015 was the warmest year on record. This year is virtually certain to be even hotter.
 
Today, more than 150 million people live on land that could be submerged – or suffer chronic flooding – within this century, possibly causing massive waves of migration and instability.
 
The choices we make today and in the coming decades could lock in catastrophic climate impacts for thousands of years to come.
 
This is an enormous responsibility – and an enormous opportunity to do what is right for our future.
 
I strongly urge all countries to increase the mitigation ambition of their national climate plans by 2018. The private sector must also do much more. And I call for the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies to accelerate the transition to clean energy.
 
We have to face the facts – and be ready to manage a range of risk scenarios.
 
We have no right to gamble with the fate of future generations – or imperil the survival of other species that share our planet.
 
Number five: we have to fund and expand solutions.
 
Local communities and cities are reducing their carbon footprint.
 
Clean energy sources are being scaled up around the world. Last year for the first time, renewables represented more than half of the new power capacity globally.
 
We need to better anticipate and absorb climate risks and reshape development to be more resilient. The Paris Agreement and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction will advance progress. I have also launched a Climate Resilience Initiative.
 
Investing in resilience now will reduce future losses and generate huge dividends.
           
Number six: the United Nations must continue advancing the moral case for action.
 
I am confident my successor, Antonio Guterres, will continue to be a strong champion for the most vulnerable. They did the least to create the climate crisis and should not suffer its worst effects.
 
I call on developed countries to honour their commitment to mobilize climate finance - $100 billion by 2020 to help developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate vulnerability
 
This is my last COP as Secretary-General. I have never missed ten COP meetings during last ten years.
 
I leave you with the strong hope that we will have the courage, tenacity and wisdom to live up to our responsibility to future generations by protecting our only home: this beautiful planet Earth.
 
I count on your leadership.
 
Shukran jazeelan, merci beaucoup, thank you very much for your leadership.